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COVID-19 has moved the Summer School online

Published on 12.8.2020
Tampere Universities
Etäkesäkoulun opiskelijoiden kuvia Teams-näytölläStudents of the Global and Multicultural Society course on Tuesday 11 August. Photograph: Ella Karman.
“The time difference between Tampere and São Paulo is six hours, meaning that when the courses start at 9.00, I can see light through the camera from the windows of my fellow students, while it is very dark and cold at 3.00 in São Paulo in the winter,” says Brazilian Victor Miyano.

Miyano is a student “attending” the Tampere International Summer School. He and 269 other students and graduates are participating in the Summer School through distance teaching because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year, we are also piloting virtual teaching implementations, ie virtual short exchanges as an option to make international know-how part of the students’ degrees,” says Specialist Ella Karman, organiser of the Summer School.

The virtual Summer School has attracted students from 42 countries. In addition to the Finns, a large number of the students come from Germany, Pakistan, France, Italy and India. Many of the Finnish students are degree students at Tampere University.

Twenty-four teachers from Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences are teaching 15 courses.

Courses in statistics and Finnish are popular

This year, the most in-demand courses have been Introduction to Statistics and Basics of Finnish. Introduction to R Statistical Software and Cross-cultural Marketing and Management have also been very popular.

Ranjan Arora is an Indian IT professional who is planning to study in a Finnish master’s degree programme. He is taking part in the Basics to Finnish course taught by Kaisa Korpela.

“I am enjoying the way Kaisa is teaching us. She is not only investing time in us, but also infusing efforts into clarifying our doubts and questions. My best experiences are related to the various teaching methods, because we have given presentations and completed assignments alone and in groups. The online courses of the Tampere Summer School are absolutely epoch-making,” Arora says.

Victor Miyano, a student of sociolinguistics, is taking the Global and Multicultural Society course.

“The best experience for sure is getting to meet new people with similar interests, perspectives and backgrounds. The professors give the lectures in a manner that allows us students to talk a lot, and they make us feel comfortable when we are doing so,” Miyano says.

“These interactions have been so beneficial that I have chatted with some colleagues even after classes – more or less enjoying the very nice momentum to deepen our understanding, share thoughts and cultivate new relations in a time that is otherwise so difficult for social life in general,” Miyano adds.

Webinars offer information on Finland

The adapted social programme of the Summer School offers, among other things, a remote boardgame evening and a quiz. The Summer School students are also connected by a Facebook group.

In addition to the scheduled programme, the students may participate in small groups by using Zoom or Teams, where they can meet new people, make friends and network.

Patricia Steins, from Mannheim in Germany, is taking the Global and Multicultural Society course.

“The social programme and the small groups in particular fit the topic of my course really well. In the small groups, we can share photographs from cities across the world depending on who is participating,” Steins says.

Distance learning is interesting

“Studying abroad even virtually is an interesting and enriching experience. You learn much and gain many insights from different countries and fields through virtual conversations,” Steins notes.

“However, actually being abroad is different. The impressions you get from walking in the streets or woods cannot really be replaced, at least not in my experience. In any other year, I would rather have come to Finland,” she admits.

After the Summer School, the students will all scatter in their own directions. Victor Miyano, who has already travelled to Finland, will begin studying in the Master’s Degree Programme in Global and Transnational Sociology at Tampere University. Ranjan Arora will continue working, while Patricia Steins will begin her third year of studies in sociology.

Tampere Summer School is jointly organised by Tampere University and the Tampere University of Applied Sciences. It is held this year on 3–14 August 2020. The Summer School offers courses in a variety of fields in the Universities’ curriculum. All the courses are taught in English.

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Specialist Ella Karman, +358 50 301 1497, ella.karman [at]